Our brain has a natural tendency to focus on threats, worries, and negativities; it’s how we survived as a species through the evolution process. However, in modern days, such tendency is not so relevant as in the past. We can allow ourselves to relax and get rid of so many worries. And not just allow it, but it’s necessary for a happy, fulfilled life. Well, that’s where gratitude comes in.
The Effect of Gratitude on Happiness
Numerous studies have shown that gratitude is an important emotion for good mental health. Feeling and expressing gratitude improves mood, health, life satisfaction and relationships with others. This happens because gratitude has the power of turning our natural tendency on seeing things negatively into a positive perspective. As a result, we feel more positive emotions, like joy and love which, in a long run, makes our lives happy and fulfilled. Psychology Today sums up results from a number of studies which examined the effect of keeping a gratitude journal on overall happiness.
Just two or three weeks of filling out gratitude diaries each evening seems to improve mood, optimistic outlook, and life satisfaction, as well as making you more likely to help others. If you want to gain a health benefit from gratitude, you may need to persist with the diaries for two or three months. This practice takes only five or 10 minutes a day, but when done cumulatively, seems to reorient your mental compass towards focusing on the positive.
Remember the Small Good Things in Your Life
As we proceed through 2011, it is important to take time to reflect on the good things in our lives and prepare for the future. A good way to do this is by writing a letter to a friend, co-worker or loved one expressing your gratitude. Another good way is, just as studies suggest, keeping a gratitude journal. Every morning or evening, write down what you’re grateful for. You may be thankful for your home, food or a warm bed. Think about people that are making your life easier and more comfortable. Or you can be grateful of something as simple as your senses, hands, legs, your mind. It’s so easy to forget all the small good things in our lives, But those things are the ones that deserve our gratitude the most. Try to remind yourself that every day.